Giving Thanks to our Children on the Autism Spectrum

Giving Thanks to our Children on the Autism Spectrum

“Last month, we held our latest Son-Rise Program Start-Up – our foundational E-Learning Training Course for parents and caregivers. Attending from seven different countries around the globe, these wonderful participants came together to help their beautiful children. The children were from the ages of 1-23, and the amazing people representing these children, turned to us with a desire to help their children in all areas of social connection, verbal communication, creating friendships, flexibility, and more. Throughout the week, we shared the guiding principles of The Son-Rise Program and the participants were able to begin implementing the things they were learning right away, with their children in between classes. Throughout the week, we got to know them and their children and we absolutely loved supporting them. It was really touching to hear stories of the things they tried with their children in between each class.

“One of The Son-Rise Program guiding principles we covered was ‘The child is a gift.’ That having a child who is unique, can be a magnificent opportunity. That if we really look, there are many things our children can teach us. When we see our children as a gift, it can really change our whole experience. We discussed this principle together, and we invited some of the participants to share why they believed their child was a gift in their life.

“Here are some of the things they shared that they have learned from their children:

• The gift of slowing down and enjoying the moment
• The gift of letting go of control
• To open my mind to differences
• To teach me how to be present
• To know how to relate to children on the autism spectrum
• That love is about connection, rather than achievement

“When you have a child who is different, it’s common to focus on all the things your child has not yet mastered. The places where they need to catch up, and all the areas, where they still need to learn new skills. Even our own family members, as well as professionals seem to constantly point out all that our children are lacking. At that point, it becomes challenging to maintain the positive outlook we want to have to be able to reach our children.

“Helpful reasons to see your child on the Autism Spectrum as a gift and to hold a positive outlook?

• You get to create your own story. Rather than having others paint the picture of what your experience will/should be as you parent your special child…YOU become the MASTER PAINTER, and AUTHOR of your own story. Creating your own story is empowering and visionary, it allows us to dream and want for our children. When we allow others to write the story of how our children will be, our vision becomes limited and closes up opportunities for growth.
• Seeing your child as a gift, allows you to practice gratitude. Gratitude is one of the shortcuts to being happy. Being happy and feeling grateful is a therapeutic, nurturing experience that will feel wonderful and really help you feed your own sense of well-being. The more you feed your sense of well-being, the more comfortable, present, and creative you will be for your child. This will actually promote your ability to help your child.
• It’s all about attitude. The Son-Rise Program is 90% attitude and 10% technique. So if you can really believe in the power of your attitude, that gaining tools for your attitudinal growth is going to be a priority, this will give you another way to grow your love and acceptance. When we are in this embracing attitude, the techniques flow so much more easily from us.

“Now to practice this perspective of seeing the gifts that your child brings to your life. Try asking yourself these questions:

1) Why is my child a gift to me?
2) How is my child a gift to the world?
3) What is my child in my life to help me overcome?
4) What is my child in my life to teach me?

“When you reflect on these questions and come up with your own answers. You will have a framework of how to continue your journey with your child… the child who is perfect for you! When others tell you how you should be doing things, or highlight the deficits in your child, you can go back to these answers and practice a different mindset and attitude. Perhaps you can even share some of these answers with others when they attempt to limit you or your child, or even feel sorry for you. Let them know your mindset and help educate them with your new, empowering story.

“One other bonus advantage of seeing your child as a gift is that it will fuel the celebrations you have for your child, when you are spending time with your child. This will help your child recognize and take in the belief you have in them and the acceptance you have for them, which will encourage your child and enrich the special bond you have.”

Written by Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher

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